The poor have been with us since there was an “us.” And, as much as I would like to see zero poverty in the United States, a country that spends trillions on its domestic and international security apparatuses, I know that the political will for such policies is just not there today. This, despite the efforts of thousands of people just like me all over the country to alleviate the unnecessary suffering of the poor in the US. Instead, it has become clear from the rhetoric of the 2016 Presidential campaigns, that it is easier to preen oneself by boasting of increasing such security spending, and almost never to decrease it. Not even Democratic Party Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders discusses cutting back on military spending and cutting weapons systems. Thus, we can have a Presidential election and not one word is uttered about the criminalization of the poor and now the crisis of homelessness that afflicts a growing number of cities on the west coast of the US.
It is hard to estimate the number of homeless people in the US, but one indicator is the number of school children who do not have an address. According to the Child Trends Databank, at the start of the 2013 – 2014 academic year, there were approximately 1.4 million children in the United States who reported to school and did not have an address to give to school authorities. Child Trends asserts that while reporting has improved and can provide some background for the increased numbers, the sad fact is that the instance of homelessness among children is increasing.